How to respond to rejection and hostility

Jan 05 2021

Jesus’ experience included a series of withdrawals his last year. During the summer months, he traveled in and out of Galilee. During the winter, he visited Jerusalem and withdrew multiple times.

This pattern of engagement and withdrawal points to the mounting tension between Jesus and the religious authorities.

The perception of Jesus as a dynamic, likable teacher-leader is true enough. But often in our focus on Jesus, we ignore the feelings of all of the other dynamic leaders around him who were competing for public interest, let alone those who were attempting to preserve the power they had already attained.

The leaders in Nazareth and Capernaum and other towns in Galilee turned against Jesus. Not long afterwards in Jerusalem at the Feast of Huts, the religious leaders sent the temple guards to arrest him. And a few months later, on Jesus’ next feast-visit to Jerusalem, some of his listeners/competitors intended once again to seize him.

Jesus lived in this mounting tension of rejection and hostility for months. Yet he never lost his nerve or his focus.

If we tell the story overlooking this tension, we do it not because the circumstances demand it, but because we are so overawed by Jesus’ calm in the face of unrelenting opposition.

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